Controlling Cholesterol 101

 

Happy New Year everyone! After a week long binge of Christmas foods, wedding foods and New Year foods, my arteries are feeling pretty clogged up.

Side note: I want to take a new approach to my blogs this year, and keep them a little bit more to the point, short and sweet, more digestible per say, and try post a little more frequently.

Why is cholesterol bad?

Actually, it is your triglycerides (amount of fat in your blood) and your LDL that are the two to be concerned with. Now i could get into the details of different types of LDL and what not, but for MOST people high LDL is indicative of “bad cholesterol” levels. Having high numbers means that one is more susceptible to heart disease, heart attacks, strokes,

Why is my cholesterol high?

It could be a combination of things: genetics, diet, activity level – i.e lifestyle.

While genetic can play a big role, they also CAN be controlled through proper diet and exercise.

Sedentary lifestyle, extra body fat are the two biggest culprits that can be changed with a simple caloric deficit and increased activity. Losing 5-10 pounds of fat has been proven to drop cholesterol numbers by 5-15% alone!

My Exercise Prescription:

  1. Walk 30 minutes everyday – with a end day goal of 10,000 steps
  2. Lift weights 2-3 days per week with full body, strength training focus

How Specific Foods Effect Cholesterol:

For the longest time, dietary cholesterol was demonized for leading to high cholesterol – but fear not, it has since been un-vilified.

Now, for people with high cholesterol I still recommend caution with the following foods:

Eggs, high fat red meat, high fat other meats, cheese, butter, butter spreads, processed desserts, anything that comes in a silver lined crinkly bag (chips, chex mix, etc.), *nuts and seeds.

This is for two reasons:  

  1. These foods are high in SATURATED and some TRANS FATS – which can lead to increases in LDL and triglycerides. It’s not the cholesterol in the egg yolk that I’m worried about, it is the TOTAL intake of fat at the end of the day.

For example, most people do very well wth diets where about 25-30% of calories come from fat (and about 10% of that being saturated fat). If your weight loss calorie number is around 1800, this would mean that you should be having right around 50-60 grams of fat per day, with no more than 20 grams being from saturated fat, and as little as possible trans fat.  (one slice of cheddar cheese has 9 grams of fat, 6 of them being saturated)

* Why nuts and seeds? Most people think that nuts and seeds are heart healthy, which they are – however, it is super easy to over eat these, like a handful is 500 calories easy. Use caution with nuts/trail mixes*

Thats really not that much! Also, fat is higher in calories meaning that it adds up quickly if you are trying to maintain a deficit.

2. These foods can also be high in highly inflammatory processed carbs. When you are loading your body with high sugar/high fat foods (chips, dessert) you are hitting it with a double whammy of sorts. You are increasing your cholesterol production AND increasing inflammation in your arteries over time. If something is high in processed carbs, and fat – it’s probably best to be avoided. 

SO what should YOU do?

I already gave my exercise script.

For nutrition you should avoid the previously mentioned foods as much as possible (or at least in moderation – this is where tracking can be a beautiful thing)

Foods to consider adding:

Fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, oats, lean proteins, fatty fish (salmon) 

Image result for cholesterolFoods to consider making swaps for:

Swap out: butters, spreads

Swap in: olive oil, avocados

These oils are high in mono-unsaturated fats – very heart healthy – BUT still  keep your fat totals in mind for the day! Just like nuts, they are easy to go overboard with.

Supplements to consider:

Plant Sterols and Stanols – essentially these are the plant form of cholesterol and have been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol. Buy these:

Cholest-off Plus – http://amzn.to/2iyB7ua

Fish Oil – diets higher in Omega-3’s can lead to lower cholesterol levels as well.

Dr. Tobias Fish Oil – http://amzn.to/2hNsf5g

Give it all a try, and get your blood levels checked in 6 months – your numbers will be greatly improved!

 

 

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Stay healthy my friends,

 

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